History of Bingo

Early Italian History

Bingo, the fun game as we know it today was first played in Italy around the early to mid-1500s. The game structure has remained almost the same despite the many names it has had to adopt every country it has been exported to. The earlier versions were essentially a country fair style game that involved a dealer selecting numbered discs out of a cigar box and with every pick players would put a mark on their cards corresponding to the number picked by the dealer. Strange as it may sound, bingo's true ancestor 'Lo Giuoco del Lotto D'Italia' is still played till today the same way it was those 600 years ago.

French Nobility, Beano And A New York Toy Salesman

The game was initially lotto, a name it retained in France where it was played only by nobles. The name bingo was first used in North America; initially the Americans called it beano because they marked the numbers in their cards with beans whenever a corresponding number was called. It is said that a New York toy salesman, Edwin Lowe christened it bingo after one of the players faultily called it so. There is however a tale that associates this hackneyed proclamation to a famous cry one female player once made when she literally went speechless on hitting it big in a bingo game in New York.

The Blotter, Maths & Carl Leffler

The game's growth and diversity is however credited to the salesman Lowe, after being mesmerised by what he played and liked in an Atlanta carnival, he commissioned Carl Leffler, a Columbia University math professor to increase the possible combinations. His initiative made the game popular and led to the production of the first instructional manual and a monthly newsletter called the blotter.

Bingo In The UK

Bingo got to the UK much later; sometime in the 1960s. No one seems to have a good reason why this is so but since then it has gained immense popularity. Its growth has received a couple of boosts in its short history in the UK; the 1968 Gaming Act that allowed bingo games in licensed premises and the launch of the National Bingo Games in 1986. These two events actually brought bingo to a similar standing with the much cherished rainy summer day's fish and chips. This game that was once a senior citizens' pastime is now ingrained in the British culture; it is both a fun way to socializing and exciting money making game.

Dabbers, 75-balls, 90-balls

The growth after bingo after 1968 piece of legislation has been alluring. Brits now cannot resist the excitement of tickets with a set of numbers, patterns and 'fat' marking pens (dabbers) have become an official way to attractive cash prizes. They have even identified themselves with the 90-ball bingo game, a variant of the 75-ball bingo that is popular with North Americans. With the advancement in technology, electronic and online bingo has also become an addition to the gaming menu. Electronic bingo is more attractive because it gives players a chance to buy more than the six cards as required traditionally. It has also made playing more fluid increasing bingo hall managers' ticket selling options.

The Future Of Bingo

The other inherent advantage of electronic Bingo has been the elimination of need for players to carry cash along with them. Another technological advancement that has worked in favour of bingo is the introduction of random number generators (RNGs) to ensure fairness at all times. This has helped advance the game to lessen the role of the caller hence affording players more gaming activity.


Keep your eyes peeled for the exclusive bingo offers badge. This is a bonus we've negotiated exclusively for Bingo Choices users

Get Offers Here!

Top 10
Bingo Sites

Helping you to find the best bingo rooms!

See Our Top 10

Bingo Site Reviews

Read reviews of the top UK Bingo websites in our A to Z bingo table.

A to Z Bingo Sites

Get Social

© 2022 bingochoices.co.uk